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ROVERS SIGN McDONALD ON LOAN

21 January 2013

Defender joins until the end of the season

Rovers have taken Clayton McDonald on Emergency Loan until the end of the season, subject to the completion of paperwork.

The 6ft 6inch defender joins the Pirates from fellow League Two side Port Vale.

Manager John Ward said: “Clayton has had over twenty games in top of the table Port Vale’s side this season, pushing with a purpose there.

“I had a good chat with him after training this morning and there’s a purpose here as well, albeit a different one, of course.

“But he’s up for the task and for the games to come. Vale have signed Darren Purse, which just edges him out of a starting position up there, and he also accepts it might be difficult to get a start with us following our win at Fleetwood.

“However he was prepared to come down for the cause and that’s a really big plus for me.”

McDonald graduated out of the Manchester City youth academy, turning professional in 2008.

While at Manchester City he went out on loan to Macclesfield Town, Chesterfield and Walsall, before signing for the Midlands club on a permanent basis in December 2009.

After being released from Walsall, he signed a six month contract at Port Vale in June 2011. 

This was extended until the end of the 2012 season, and the defender was then offered another 12 month contract to keep him at Vale Park until the end of the 2012/13 season.

The loss of Garry Kenneth for the rest of the season has left the manager short of experience in the central defensive positions and although Clayton is only 24 he has almost 100 league appearances behind him.

John Ward continued: “The loss of Garry means we are a little bit tight for people in those central defensive positions and really only have Mark McChrystal and Tom Parkes.

“If everything goes OK they can still keep playing, but Tom can move around a little bit either into midfield or full back, so I have signed Clayton to cove all eventualities.

“While he is 24, he does have quite a little bit of experience and I think that is vital, particularly in central positions. 

“We have already strengthened down the middle of the pitch now, with a goalkeeper a centre back and a midfielder with players who have a bit of experience.

“We are trying just to toughen things up so that whatever happens we have players who can deal with whatever situations arise during games.

The 93 day loan should take Clayton up to the end of the season, though there is a recall clause.

“Because Vale are chasing promotion there is a 24 hour recall after the first month. Micky Adams has to protect his own situation at Port Vale, of course, but I’m very hopeful that Clayton will be with us for 93 days, which will take him up until the end of the season.”

“The deal was done last week and he was going to come down for the game against Exeter.

“He’s a really good, solid, professional footballer who knows the score and I am going to give him his chance and hope he takes it.”

Chairman Nick Higgs said: "I would like to welcome Clayton to the club, and thank Port Vale for loaning him to us.

"He is a big lad who gives us an option at the back, and hopefully this is another step towards building a squad that can get us moving in the right direction.

John also had this to say about training in the bad weather: “We had to cancel training last Friday, when we found out that the all weather surface isn’t!

“It certainly couldn’t be used then, but we trained on it this morning and after two or three days off the players were very good, and ready to get going again.

”They are athletes and they don’t want to be having days off to sit at home.

“Hopefully we can start getting back to some more serious training as we prepare for the game against Rotherham this weekend.”


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